Rita Caviness, Director of Client Services at The Hope Project, Muskegon, Michigan, received one of ten Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment awards and grants presented nationwide. In addition to the award, she received a $10,000 grant for her organization.
Founded in 2006, The Hope Project is a grassroots nonprofit organization committed to ending the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls in the United States, with a focus on rehabilitating survivors in Michigan. The organization accomplishes this through survivor aftercare services, a mentor program, a prevention task force, and Hope Village – a rehabilitation home providing comprehensive aftercare services to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of recovery.
Known for her energy, charisma, and dedication, Rita works directly with and supervises others working with survivors of sex trafficking and vulnerable youth. She is a certified recovery coach and co-facilitates recovery and support groups as well as outreach to girls at the Muskegon County Juvenile Transition Center.
In addition to working towards recovery, Rita co-chairs The Lakeshore Human Trafficking Task Force, which is a collaboration of law enforcement, social services, faith communities, and elected officials dedicated to working together to support other survivors. The task force provides trainings, community awareness events, and networking opportunities concerning the issue of human trafficking.
“We meet survivors right where they are,” said Rita. “With this grant, we will be able to purchase a vehicle to provide our youth clients in our housing program with transportation to their counseling or medical appointments, work, and anywhere else they may need to go. Imagine the conversations that will be held in that car,” she added. “This vehicle will not just get them from point A to point B but will also be part of their healing process.”